The amount of time somebody took to write this speaks volumes about Dr. Mara Antonoff on so many levels and makes for one helluva story.
"I think Dr. Mara Antonoff is a 'once-in-a-generation' surgeon regardless of gender - she is that talented, respected & giving. Yes, she is an active member of our professional societies, but many surgeons are. When you see the way she teaches, guides & mentors the next-generation of surgeons, you see true genius there. It's hard to explain - it's not lecturing; it's not coaching; it's guidance & perspective that enables others to ultimately choose paths that they can own - that is such a simple concept, but when applied in the way Mara does it, I see 'magic' in the way it's received. Being a very very good technical surgeon is not table-stakes, & Mara is one of the best, especially when faced with some of the most invasive & complex surgical oncology cases of the chest. Her ability to navigate critical anatomy where margins mean the difference between curative and palliative, I don't really think there is anybody I have seen do it with the level of skill, compassion, 'best interest of the pt' & on-the-feet thinking that she demonstrates case-in and case-out. She'll have a chest cracked open for 8+ hours and you'll see that patient leave this facility with a renewed lease on life - there are simply no words to describe what that does for our institution's reputation, as a leader in cancer treatment - both the surgical and medical continuity that we pride ourselves on. But more than that...what it does for those families is simply breath-taking (no pun intended).
However, not every patient is lucky enough to leave here with a full life ahead of them - it's easy to deal with the patient who has a very good prognosis; the ones who are truly special know how to bring a special touch to those who leave here with a 'time frame'. Mara has a touch of gold when it comes to those difficult situations - she doesn't hand it off like most surgeons might - she cares and let me tell you, patients know when it's genuine. Mara is genuine in the way she looks these patients in the eyes - there's a spark that she's still able to generate for our patients who Mara fights to spare a little more of the most precious commodity in our world - time - precious time with loved ones to do those things that these families will cherish forever.
Mara is a champion for our profession. She destroys every stereotype (regardless of gender) that the 'prototypical' thoracic surgeon at a top-notch, world-renowned institution has been encumbered with. She's kind, but firm; she's instructive to skill-development without being destructive to one's self-worth; she's beautiful but still approachable. Why does any of this matter? Because she is such a role model for many up-and-coming thoracic surgeons - male and female alike. Whether we like it or not, we tend to emulate our mentors and those we look up to. Many people in our profession look up to Mara, and while some look at that as a burden, Mara has always embraced it as a 'privilege'. It certainly draws extra time from her life, but her children are very lucky. She exhibits behaviors, character qualities, integrity, and an unbelievable work-ethic. Her kids may not appreciate it today, or even tomorrow, but I have no doubt that one day, they will see the tremendous 'sphere of positive influence' that Mara has created on so many dimensions, and only want to carry that on in whatever direction their passions in life take them.
I apologize for the long testimonial here - I usually don't do this, but after seeing what you've created and how many people it reaches, I can't help but 'tell it how it is' - we tend to do that in Texas. It is incredible, magical, nothing short of amazing and, without compromise."